And Laban answered and said to Jacob, These daughters are my daughters, and these children are my children, and these cattle are my cattle, and all that you see is mine: and what can I do this day to these my daughters, or to their children which they have born?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Laban answered . . . —Laban does not attempt any reply to Jacob’s angry invectives, but answers affectionately. Why should he wish to injure Jacob, and send him away empty? All that he had was still Laban’s in the best of senses; for were not Rachel and Leah his daughters? And were not their children his grandsons? How was it possible that he could wish to rob them? He proposes, therefore, that they should make a covenant, by which Jacob should bind himself to deal kindly with his daughters, and to take no other wife; while he promises for himself that he would do Jacob no wrong. Jacob therefore sets up a large stone, as a pillar and memorial; and Laban subsequently does the same; while, probably between the two hills on which they had severally encamped (Genesis 31:25), they collect a large mass of other stones, on which they feast together, in token of friendship (Genesis 26:30).Genesis 31:43-44. All is mine — That is, came by me. Let us make a covenant — It was made and ratified with great solemnity, according to the usages of those times. 1st, A pillar was erected, a heap of stones raised to perpetuate the memory of the thing, writing being then not known. 2d, A sacrifice was offered, a sacrifice of peace-offerings. 3d, They ate bread together, jointly partaking of the feast upon the sacrifice. This was in token of a hearty reconciliation. Covenants of friendship were anciently ratified by the parties eating and drinking together.
these daughters are my daughters: though thy wives, they are my own flesh and blood, and must be dear to me; so pretending strong natural affections for them:
and these children are my children; his grandchildren, for whom also he professed great love and affection:
and these cattle are my cattle; or of my cattle, as the Targum of Jonathan, sprung from them, as indeed they did:
and all that thou seest is mine; all this he observed in a bragging way, that it might be thought that he was generous in not insisting upon having it, but giving all back to Jacob again:
and what can I do this day unto these my daughters, or unto their children which they have born? I cannot find in my heart to do them any hurt, or wrong them of anything, and am therefore willing all should be theirs.And Laban answered and said unto Jacob, These daughters are my daughters, and these children are my children, and these cattle are my cattle, and all that thou seest is mine: and what can I do this day unto these my daughters, or unto their children which they have born?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)43. my daughters] Laban’s reply, consisting of the claim of complete parental control over Leah and Rachel and their children and their husband’s flocks, is no sort of reply to Jacob’s complaint.Verses 43, 44. - And Laban answered and said unto Jacob, - neither receiving Jacob's torrent of invective with affected meekness (Candlish), nor proving himself to be completely reformed by the angry recriminations of his "callous and hardened son-in-law (Kalisch); but perhaps simply owning the truth of Jacob's wants, and recognizing that he had no just ground of complaint (Calvin), as well as touched in his paternal affections by the sight of his daughters, from whom he felt that he was about to part for ever. These daughters - literally, the daughters (there) - are my daughters, and these (literally, the) children are my children, and these (literally, the) cattle are my cattle; and all that thou seest is mine. Not as reminding Jacob that he had still a legal claim to his (Jacob's) wives and possessions (Candlish), or at least possessions (Kalisch), though prepared to waive it, but rather as acknowledging that in doing injury to Jacob he would only be proceeding against his own flesh and blood (Calvin, Rosenmüller, Gerlach, Alford). And what can I do this day unto these my daughters, - literally, and as for (or to) my daughters, what can I do to these this day? The LXX., connecting "and to my daughters" with what precedes, reads, καὶ πάντα ὅσα σὺ ὁρᾷς ἐμά ἐσι καὶ τῶν θυγατέρων μου ( <ΒΤΤ·Ξομμενταρψ Ωορδ>or unto their children which they have born? - i.e. why should I do anything unto them An ego in viscera mea saervirem (Calvin). Now therefore literally, and now, νῦν ο΅υν (LXX.) - come thou, - לְכָה, imperf., of יָלַך- age, go to, come now (cf. Genesis 19:32) - let us make a covenant, - literally, let us cut a covenant, an expression which, according to partitionists (Tuch, Stahelin, Delitzsch, et alii), is not used by the Elohist until after Exodus 14:8; and yet by all such authorities the present verse is assigned to the Elohist (cf. Keil's 'Introduction,' part 1. § 2, div. 1. § 27) - I and thou; and let it be for a witness between me and thee.
CHAPTER 31:45-55 1 Samuel 17:53; אחטּנּה for אחטּאנּה "I had to atone for it," i.e., to bear the loss; "the Fear of Isaac," used as a name for God, פּחד, σέβας equals σέβασμα, the object of Isaac's fear or sacred awe.
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